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People v. Mallett

OCTOBER 7, 1971.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MINOR K. WILSON, Judge, presiding.


Sandra Mallett and Raymond Anderson were indicted for armed robbery, tried by the court, found guilty and sentenced. Mallett was given a one to three year term in Dwight Reformatory, Anderson a two to six year term in the penitentiary. The defendants contend that they were not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The robbery occurred in Sandra Mallett's apartment about 8:00 P.M. The victim, Carl McCormick, a young married man, testified that he went there at her suggestion. As soon as he got inside the door, she drew a gun and two men, Anderson and another, came at him. He was struck in the head and Anderson said, "Give me your money or I will kill you." He was instructed to take the currency out of his wallet; he gave all that he had — two ten, two five and six one dollar bills — to Mallett. McCormick ran out of the third floor apartment, down the stairs and to a police station. Accompanied by police officers, he returned to the apartment building in time to see the defendantes come out of the hallway. They were arrested and taken back to the apartment. The third robber was not apprehended.

In the apartment Anderson said to him: "You can beat me up, I'll give you your money back right now, but don't sign a complaint." He threatened "to get" McCormick if he signed a complaint. Mallett accused McCormick of having sexual intercourse with her and then robbing her of $150.00.

Anderson did not testify at the trial; Mallet did. She testified that McCormick gave her $36.00 for sexual relations, then said she was only worth $3.00 and attempted to get his money back. She resisted and screamed; when Anderson appeared McCormick ran out with the money. She denied robbing him or saying that he took more from her than the $36.00.

One of the four arresting officers testified at the trial. He confirmed McCormick's head wound and verified his testimony that Anderson had said, "Hit me back, and we will give you the money, but don't sign a complaint. If you sign a complaint, we'll get you." The officer testified that he recovered two tens, two fives and six singles from Mallett, who said the money had been given to her by McCormick for prostitution. She claimed that he knew the denominations of the bills because it was part of the $150.00 he stole from her.

Mallett's and McCormick's stories of the events leading up to the robbery differed as widely as did their versions of the robbery. Mallett testified that she was a prostitute and was out looking for business on North Avenue near Halsted Street when McCormick stopped his car and beckoned to her. He asked her if she wanted a "jump." She said she would for $50.00; he said he had $40.00 and she got in his car. She suggested going to her house; he protested, but nevertheless they went there and she "proceeded to lay him."

McCormick testified that he stopped for a red light at North and Halsted as he was on his way home after applying for a job in a gas station at North Avenue and Clark Streets. Mallet approached his car, knocked on the window, opened the door and asked if he would give her a "jump." He had ignition jumper cables in the trunk of his car and he said he would for $3.00. She got in and, when asked, said her car was near Fullerton Avenue and Halsted Street. When they arrived at Fullerton and Halsted, she said her car was farther north but that she would have to go home first to get her husband and the money. She told him where she lived and, since it was a couple of miles away, he raised his price to $4.00. He drove her home and said he would remain in the car while she went inside; but she insisted that he come in and help explain to her husband what had happened. She kept repeating that her husband might be mad, so he agreed to go with her. When he entered her apartment he saw, for the first time, a gun in her hand and the robbery immediately followed.

Although the principles may not have had a meeting of the minds on the meaning of the word "jump," they agree that Mallet persuaded McCormick to drive her home and enter her apartment. They also agree that Anderson was waiting there and that McCormick's money was transferred to her. Whether it was passed by force or in payment for her services, was a question for the trier of facts. From the evidence the trial court could have concluded that Mallett induced McCormick, by one pretense or another, to come to her home where her confederates were awaiting the arrival of a victim; that, unusual though it might be for a robbery to take place in a robber's home, the defendants' took a calculated risk that the victim would not have the courage to complain; that a married man involved in a compromising situation with a prostitute would rather forget about the whole thing than report it to the police and run the risk that it would be revealed to his wife and friends.

• 1, 2 The conflict in the testimony presented a question of the credibility of the witnesses. This conflict was resolved by the trial court who, sitting without a jury, had the responsibility to observe the witnesses, determine their credibility and weigh their testimony. A trial court's judgment will not be overturned on review unless a defendant's guilt was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, an unjust decision was reached, or an error of prejudicial dimension occurred in the trial.

• 3 The defendants' guilt was proved, the court's decision was not unjust and there was no trial error. The judgment is affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

McNAMARA, P.J., and McGLOON, ...

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